Meet our Johnston Tutoring Staff

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Great Teachers Inspire

Our tutors and staff in Johnston & Des Moines consist of passionate educators who love inspiring children to succeed. Warm, caring and great at relating to kids, our tutors in Johnston know how to engage and motivate each child in a personal way—building confidence and smiles, as well as skills and better scores. We selectively choose tutors who know local curriculum and can link Sylvan lessons to what’s being taught in school. Get to know our tutors and staff in Johnston & Des Moines!

  • Katie Ruby, Center Director

    Katie Ruby

    Center Director

    As Center Director, Katie leads all scheduling and consultation duties for the Sylvan Learning Center of Johnston. Katie’s education in both business and hospitality has allowed her to travel to several corners of the world. Through this international experience she found a passion for helping children in their education while volunteering for several youth causes throughout her studies abroad. When Katie isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her enjoying outdoor activities and being with friends and family! 
  • Megan Averill, Director of Education

    Megan Averill

    Director of Education

    Megan oversees the educational integrity of our programs, managing and training our team of teachers. A former classroom teacher of 5 years, Megan brings a wealth of knowledge to Sylvan of Greater Des Moines. Originally from Iowa, she graduated from the University of Northern Iowa. When Megan isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her spending time with family and friends or on the tennis court.
  • Dr. Sheri Senter, Director Of Community Outreach

    Dr. Sheri Senter

    Director Of Community Outreach

    Dr. Senter brings to Sylvan Learning more than thirty years in the field of education. She began her career as a special education teacher and enjoyed all ages and levels. She was on faculty at both a community college and state university. Academically, Sheri holds a B.A. in Psychology, a M.A. in Education with an emphasis in Reading and a doctorate in Education, with an emphasis in Special Education and Early Childhood. She holds eight California Teaching Certifications. As an Early Childhood Specialist, she was active in the community on numerous Boards and Committees. Sheri moved from California to Iowa in August 2020. In her free time, you can find her playing with her granddaughters! 
  • Nick Shearer, Tutor

    Nick Shearer

    Tutor

    Nick is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Business Analytics at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business. He is also working his way through actuary exams. He got a BS in Mathematics and minored in Statistics at Iowa State University. While Nick has many tutoring talents, he finds the greatest joy in Mathematics and ACT prep. When Nick isn't at Sylvan, you'll find him at the dog park with his dog Mobi.
  • Maddie Slough, Tutor

    Maddie Slough

    Tutor

    Maddie is an Academic Interventionist at Des Moines Public Schools in Des Moines, IA with a gift for working with kids. While Maddie has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in elementary reading tutoring. She studied at Northwest Missouri State University where she earned a bachelors degree in Elementary Education with a reading endorsement and coaching minor. She also earned her masters degree in Health and Physical Education from Northwest Missouri State University. When Maddie isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her spending time with her husband, Cree, and cat Ed. She also enjoys baking, working out, golfing and going home to Kansas City to visit her mom, dad, and little cousin Jesse. 
  • Kate Burnette, Tutor

    Kate Burnette

    Tutor

    Kate has a degree in Secondary Education and English from Grand View University and is a high school English teacher for the Iowa Virtual Academy, teaching students all over the state of Iowa. She also works part-time as a Licensed Practical Nurse and serves in the Iowa Army National Guard. Kate is working towards her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology in hopes to be a Speech Therapist someday for both children and adults. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her two dogs and cat and loves to play tennis! 
  • Kinsey Zacharski , Tutor

    Kinsey Zacharski

    Tutor

    Kinsey is a science teacher in Grimes, IA with a gift for working with students of all ages. While Kinsey has many tutoring talents, she loves science and math tutoring. She recently studied at Drake University. When Kinsey isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her at coffee shops, playing games with friends, or crafting.
  • Heather Eime, Tutor

    Heather Eime

    Tutor

    Heather is a middle school special education associate in Johnston, IA with a gift for working with young people. While Heather has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in teaching Sylvan's Advanced Reading Skills course or study skills camps. She earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education at Simpson College, specializing in reading, instructional strategies, and social studies. When Heather isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her participating in church activities, playing games with friends and family, or enjoying nature.
  • Bre Kruse, Tutor

    Bre Kruse

    Tutor

    Bree Kruse is a teacher in Johnston, IA with a gift for working with kids of all ages. She truly enjoys connecting with each one and watching them smile as they learn. While Bree has many tutoring talents & enjoys teaching all subjects, she finds the greatest joy in watching ‘lightbulb moments’ happen as students learn and grow in skills they have been struggling with. She studied education at the University of Iowa, homeschools her 4 kids & is working towards her certification in Mentoring, Coaching, and Leadership Development at Grand View University. When Bree isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her kayaking, traveling, hanging with her friends, family, and 4 kitties, and talking to her 100 plants.
  • Lisa Battistone, Tutor

    Lisa Battistone

    Tutor

    Lisa is a Special Education Teacher with Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District with a gift for working with kids. While Lisa has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in reading tutoring. She studied at Drake University. When Lisa isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her reading a good book, and hanging out with her corgi, Stanley.
  • Bob Geurink, Tutor

    Bob Geurink

    Tutor

    Bob has been working at Sylvan for five years! He has taught in Iowa high schools for over 30 years, as an English teacher, the last 21 at Dallas Center-Grimes. He lives in Norwalk with his wife, Brenda, and their two youngest children 15,17 yrs. old). He also has two adult children.
  • Jennifer Schafer, Tutor

    Jennifer Schafer

    Tutor

    Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She's owned a daycare, preschool, and is a published author. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with friends and family, listen to music, cook, and watch paranormal shows!
  • Joe Spampinato, Tutor

    Joe Spampinato

    Tutor

    Joe is a medical student in Des Moines, IA with a gift for working with kids. While Joe has many tutoring talents, he finds the greatest joy in math tutoring. He studied at Hillsdale College. When Joe isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find him studying for exams or watching NFL games with friends. 
  • Desirae Kellis, Tutor

    Desirae Kellis

    Tutor

    Desi is studying Elementary Education at Grand View University. When she is not at Sylvan, she is either at school working towards her degree, or she is spending time with her friends and family. She loves working at Sylvan because the teachers and students are amazing and she is learning from each and every one of them every day. 
  • Katie Davis, Tutor

    Katie Davis

    Tutor

    Katie is a special education teacher in Johnston, Iowa with a gift for working with kids. While Katie has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in reading tutoring. She studied at Grand View University and received her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with an Instructional Strategist endorsement. When Katie isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her trying new recipes, spending time with her fiancée Matt and dog Brands, and reading books! 
  • Courtney Crocker, Tutor

    Courtney Crocker

    Tutor

    Courtney has been a substitute teacher in Urbandale, Johnston, Kansas City, and Clarksville, TN, & was also a preschool teacher on an army base in Missouri. She is excited to be back at Sylvan after a few years away. While Courtney has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in reading & math tutoring. She studied Elementary Education at Iowa State - Go Cyclones! When Courtney isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her spending time with her husband and son, Easton. 
  • Lydia Anderson, Tutor

    Lydia Anderson

    Tutor

    Lydia is a special education teacher in Carlisle, IA. While Lydia has many tutoring talents, she finds the greatest joy in literacy and social skills tutoring. She studied at Iowa State University and Morningside College. When Lydia isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her cycling at Cycle Bar, watching soccer with her boyfriend, and cheering on the cyclones with her family!
  • Emily Mort, Admin

    Emily Mort

    Admin

    Emily is an administrative assistant at Sylvan who has a passion for helping kids succeed. She obtained an associate's degree in early childhood education from Ashworth College. During the day she is a special Ed associate with Des Moines public schools and works occasional weeknights and Saturdays at Sylvan. When Emily is not working you can find her hanging out with her husband and three dogs.
  • Chelsie Lucas, Admin

    Chelsie Lucas

    Admin

    Chelsie is the administrator in Johnston, Iowa, with a gift for multitasking and joy when working with kids. While Chelsie has many administrative talents, she finds her true happiness when she can be with the kids during transition time. When Chelsie isn’t at Sylvan, you’ll find her with her husband and two daughters, watching movies or swimming! 
  • Sara Pendry, Admin

    Sara Pendry

    Admin

    Sara is an administrative role in Johnston, IA with a gift working with kids. While Sara has many administrative duties, she finds the greatest joy in assisting the center and teachers with things they may need on a daily basis. She studied at Dmacc for her associates, Grandview for her bachelors, and finally her masters from Capella. When Sara is not at Sylvan, you'll find her crafting, being a dog mom, and spending time with loved ones.